Top 5 Windows Vista Features Nobody Ever Used

Windows Vista is officially dead (unsupported with updates) as of today. Released to much hype and fanfare, it’s fair to say it underperformed. And everyone including the company was ready to move on.

In terms of user experience, Vista was a mile wide but an inch deep . Too many features, multiple (confusing) methods to achieve one task, and so many experience breakers!

Here’s  a not so nostalgic look at some of its convoluted features nobody ever used (or asked for to begin with).

5. All the Animations

The OS was overburdened as it is, and the animations made it worse. Many users didn’t have the hardware to drive all of the graphical prowess, and they simply turned it off.

Sign of things to come

Textbooks on UI design added an entire chapter on what not to do because of the animations. Clippy would be proud.

4. The Address Bar

Nothing wrong with the address bar as such. Only problem is, the address bar for Windows Explorer listed your recently visited websites as well as hard drive locations. Result: frustration. If you wanted to visit a website, you would just open Internet Explorer

3. Network Projector

This idea should’ve been left on the table. Instead it made it to the product.

Here are some pre-requisites for this to work:

a. The projector is connected to your network

b. The projected adheres to Windows Network Projector Standard

c. You find out the exact network location of the projector

d. Oh, and you do have the projector’s password, right?

Collaborative presentations, you say?

2. Windows Meeting Space

Great idea, too little maturity. This is a staple of every workplace today, what with the plethora of remote meeting apps.

And yet it was baffling to see that this potential killer feature lacked even basic features, like:

a. common whiteboard

b. voice chat

c. and you can forget that chat even exists

Anyone online?

1. User Account Control

You knew this was coming, and nothing else could replace this. The epitome of a nobody asked for feature. It takes the top spot because this lingers around even to this day on Windows 10. While the intentions behind the UAC are good, the execution is a textbook case of a break in user experience.


Fact Checking comes to Google, and Why we are Attracted to Certain Stories

Following Facebook last year, Google is cracking down on fake news. With the addition of the fact checker, popular search topics are tagged if they are disputed by and Politifact.

Good old search
Fact checking turned on

While the fact check itself is almost a subtle change to the interface, it should go some way into stopping fake stories from spreading.

Which brings me to the point of the article. Looking into how these stories are constructed reveals surprising details that can be used to construct experiences which serve factual stories.

The Anatomy of a Fake News Story

1. Exploit existing biases

Everyone is biased, period. Identifying this to cater to the audience is key to a fake news story.

2. Catchy titles

Grab the reader’s attention right away with a provoking, perhaps controversial title.

3. The promise of a big reveal

Don’t give the story away in the title, however inconsequential. Invite the user to read on.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does cover the basics. So what can we learn from fake news to try and make real stories more interesting?

Design Principles for Creating a Better Story

1. Simplify the interface by exploiting familiar interactions and intuitive actions.
2. Grab the user’s attention with a good first impression
3. Create a layered story. Encourage discovery

Design could’ve saved them the blushes

Steve Harvey, 2015

Warren Beatty, 2017

High pressure situations can make the best of them commit gaffes.

In both cases, the announcers weren’t helped by the cards. Pictures below is the card read out by Warren Beatty when he announced La La Land (Moonlight) as Best Picture:

Surely you can’t miss the Moonlight in the middle?

Here’s my take on avoiding this type of problem:

Note that color has been deliberately subtracted for simplicity.

The name of the movie is the focal point: this is emphasized by the font size, weight, placement and color saturation.

Auxiliary information is available, but clearly segregated. The typography clearly illustrates the information hierarchy.

Finally, by placing the Oscar silhouette (instead of more text), we ensure branding is not compromised. This also serves as a point of visual interest, and helps break monotony.